top of page

A S Panchapakesa Iyer

He was the younger brother of Alathur Srinivasa Iyer, of the famous Alathur brothers. His musical training was naturally from his older brother and from Mayavaram Rajam Iyer.


For any beginner in Carnatic music, Ganamrutha Bodhini is a well-known book. It is the first book of the 'musical alphabet'. The graded versions of the books for learners are Ganamrutha Varnamalika and Ganamrutha Keerthanamalika. A. S. Panchapakesa Iyer who authored these books, was a brilliant teacher. He taught music at Rasika Ranjani Sabha, Mylapore, Chennai for over three decades. His method of teaching music to students of different capabilities and talents made his books special. These books are available in many languages. They are not just translations. But personally, notated by Iyer, in all the languages.


Today, one cannot find a student who does not use these books. The beginners' exercises are well-notated. The order of the varnams and keerthanas are set according to the difficulty level - the easy ones first and the more complicated ones follow. The books are Panchapakesa Iyer's invaluable contribution to Carnatic music. Even the performing musicians refer his books for correct notations for varnams and keertanas. They are perfect guides in Carnatic music.


Panchapakesa Iyer learnt languages other than Tamil, which is his mother tongue, like Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, only to write books in them. Other than the instructional books, Panchapakesa Iyer has authored about 40 books in four languages including the one on theoretical music - Karnataka Sangeetha Shastra.


Panchapakesa Iyer was associated with Kalakshetra in Chennai for about four years, served as Principal of the Bharatiya Music and Arts Society, Mumbai for 17 years and the Sivan Arts Academy, Chennai for three years.

bottom of page